What an odd couple of weeks this has been in England as far as Terrorism and Espionage is concerned.
The first and most obvious event is this whole Alexander Litvinenko poisoning story. A former spy, poisoned by highly radioactive Polonium-210 hidden in his Sushi with a deathbead claim that it was the Russian President wot did it. All this followed by geiger counter weilding policemen finding various signs of Polonium on his trail, in hotels, on British Airways planes and inside the stomachs of a larger than life, publicity seeking Italian Security Expert.
Almost missed in the shadow of this true-life competition for the new Bond Film was Michael Stone’s attack on Stormont (The Northern Irish Parliament). Stone, a very well known Loyalist terrorist from the old days entered the building carrying six to eight “fairly amateurish” bombs, a gun and a knife and was pretty much stopped in the first few seconds by civillian security guards and disarmed. One assumes he will now get 30 years in prison for carrying a knife and a few extra years added on for the other stuff.
Whilst all of this has kept the newspapers and telly amused for hours it has provided a nice little flashback to the times when terrorists were people with proper names and causes that were at least understandable. A time when the Spy Game at least seemed to make some sense and was more concerned with spying on foreign agents than spying on the population as a whole.
It was quite a pleasant flashback, oddly. But I bet it won’t last.